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Did We Just Become Best Friends?

21 July 2011 One Comment

He’s a 21-year-old Mongolian Monster but my friends had traveled across the world to ride motorcycles on the steppe and watch me wrestle enormous Mongolian strangers – who was I to ruin their vacation?

Nasanbatar was our best friend forever (read: for the afternoon). He’d become the assistant to our guide Jargal (Ja-Ga) after we’d stopped the Fergen van and asked him for directions to a town some 130km north of Tsetserleg. Like most Mongolian interactions Nasanbatar immediately offered all types of assistance finally deciding he’d lead the way for the first 100km of our trip. He had been ready to leave – bags packed and tied down to his motorcycle – but joined us for lunch at a nearby restaurant as we slurped down several servings of milk tea dumplings.

We soon found out that Nasanbatar was very much a 21-year-old man – taking off across the steppe at 80km on dirt paths no wider than a tire, sans helmet but plus invincibility cloak. One of my friends managed to keep him in eyesight and periodically would slow him down enough to wrangle him into a photo session and snack break. It was during these breaks we found out that Nasanbatar was headed to the Hairhan Som Naadam on the 21st. Jargal mentioned that I’d wrestled in Tsetserleg and the big man lit up and giggled, asking Jargal if I’d want to wrestle when the roads split. UI initially relented, shying away for a brief moment, but my friends heckled me enough and I agreed to be knocked around by the speed-racing behemoth.

The paths broke at a river bed and Nasanbatar rode to a nearby ger to ask if it was okay to use their grazing land to wrestle. They obliged. We took off our watches and jackets and then simply locked up and began to wrestle. The action was all caught on video so I’ll whet your appetite and only say that we both gave a solid performance and left the river’s edge as good as friends as when we’d met. We’d become Mongolian bff’s.

One Comment »

  • Elena said:

    I absolutely love this post. Thank you for sharing it! Wrestling is such a fundamental way to relate to other people, as you’ve illustrated here.

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